By now, heating a house using solar energy is pretty straightforward, both conceptually and logistically. There’s the passive solar home design, which uses the location and positioning of the house to ensure that the maximum sunlight gets trapped in the walls and windows. Then there’s the photovoltaic panels on the roof of the house to generate electrical energy. Now there is yet another item to add to the lists of solar-powered home equipment: heated flooring.
Initially, all heated flooring was powered using traditional methods and required electrical energy. It should come as no surprise now that one can use solar energy to heat floors, whether it is garage floors or kitchen floors, seeing as we can generate electrical energy using solar power.
To do so you can set up a photovoltaic panel (or multiple panels) and convert solar rays into electrical energy, then use that energy to power general electric-heated flooring, but that is not the only option. You can also create a hydronic system which warms itself similar to the way solar power heats a non-electric hot water system. Only this time, the water runs through tubes under the floor through which hot water flows and, in turn, heats the flooring above the tubes. In the same way no electricity is essential for the operation of a solar hot water system, no electrical energy is required for a solar hydronic system.
Hydronic solar systems have possibly become the most affordable and efficient method of providing heat to housing units available today. While passive home design is an effective way of utilizing the environmental surroundings of the unit’s location, a hydronic solar system can provide an adequate supply of heat no matter where the house is built. If these two methods can be combined, the results could prove incredibly worthwhile. The hydronic system could serve as some kind of reserve heating system in the event that the passive solar aspects of the house design prove ineffective. A solar hydronic system is an even better idea if you are planning on upgrading a current home to be more energy-efficient. It is difficult to redesign houses that have been standing for hundreds of years to use passive solar technology, but a solar hydronic system can be installed no matter how old the house itself is.